Tag Archives: Google Play Games

Focusing our Google Play games services efforts

Posted By James Smith, Product Manager, Google Play

In order to help developers make great games and build their businesses, we offer Google Play Games Services (GPGS). GPGS provides powerful tools to build, analyze and retain your audience and optimize your game. After listening to developer feedback and examining usage, we have decided to remove some of the features so we can focus on making our offering more useful.

In December, we announced the end of support for the creation of new iOS accounts given the low usage of GPGS on iOS. Additionally, our latest Native SDK release (2.3) will no longer support integration with iOS and going forward we will not be supporting or updating the iOS SDK.

We've also examined the features that GPGS offers. While developers use engagement and reporting tools extensively, there is lower usage for Gifts, Requests, and Quests. We therefore plan to stop supporting Gifts, Requests, and Quests. In order to help developers that do use these features plan for their removal, we will leave them open for 12 months, deactivating them by 31st March 2018. We'll be continuing support for other features such as Sign-in, Achievements, Leaderboards and Multiplayer.

Play games services remains an important part of the tools we provide developers, and we're working hard on future GPGS updates. We continue to be strongly committed to providing high quality services for Games, including new tools such as official Firebase support for Unity and C++ developers, and integration with Firebase Analytics. These changes allow us to focus our efforts on the services developers value most to build high quality, engaging games.

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Games authentication adopting Google Sign-In API

Posted by Clayton Wilkinson, Developer Platform Engineer

Some changes are coming to Play Game Services in early 2017:

Changes to Google API Client building

In November, we announced an update to Google Sign-In API. Play Game Services is being updated to use Google Sign-In API for authentication. The advantages are:

  • Games and Sign-In in same client connection.
  • Single API for getting Auth code to send to backend servers.

This change unifies the Google Sign-in and the Games API Sign-in, so there are updates to how to build the Google API Client:

// Defaults to Games Lite scope, no server component
  GoogleSignInOptions gso = new
     GoogleSignInOptions.Builder(GoogleSignInOptions.DEFAULT_GAMES_SIGN_IN).build();

// OR for apps with a server component
   GoogleSignInOptions gso = new
     GoogleSignInOptions.Builder(GoogleSignInOptions.DEFAULT_GAMES_SIGN_IN)
         .requestServerAuthCode(SERVER_CLIENT_ID)
         .build();

// OR for developers who need real user Identity
  GoogleSignInOptions gso = new
     GoogleSignInOptions.Builder(GoogleSignInOptions.DEFAULT_GAMES_SIGN_IN)
         .requestEmail()
         .build();

// Build the api client.
     mApiClient = new GoogleApiClient.Builder(this)
                .addApi(Games.API)
                .addApi(Auth.GOOGLE_SIGN_IN_API, gso)
                .addConnectionCallbacks(this)
                .build();
    }

 @Override
    public void onConnected(Bundle connectionHint) {
        if (mApiClient.hasConnectedApi(Games.API)) {
            Auth.GoogleSignInApi.silentSignIn(mApiClient).setResultCallback(
                   new ResultCallback() {
                       @Override
                       public void onResult(GoogleSignInResult googleSignInResult) {
                           // In this case, we are sure the result is a success.
                           GoogleSignInAccount acct = 
                              googleSignInResult.getGoogleSignInAccount());
 
                          // For Games with a server, send the auth code to your server.
                          String serverAuthCode = signInAccount.getServerAuthCode();
 
                         // Use the API client as normal.
                        Player player = Games.API.getCurrentPlayer(mApiClient);
                       }
                   }
            );
        } else {
            onSignedOut();
        }
    }

Account creation within iOS is no longer supported

  • Currently, there is no support for new players to create a Play Games account on iOS. Additionally, the Google+ integration has been removed from iOS. As a result "social" APIs will return result codes indicating success, but return empty lists. This includes the "standard" UIs for leaderboards and multiplayer invitations.

Google+ is no longer integrated

  • Announced last year, Games is decoupled from Google+ during this transition. As a result the public APIs for getting connected players via circles stopped working, but the standard UIs for multiplayer invitations and social leaderboards continued to work. Starting from February 2017, the standard UIs will also not display the Social graph results as Google+ data becomes inaccessible. This will affect multiplayer games, social leaderboards, and gifts API on Android. The effect will be that these APIs will return successfully, but with an empty list of players.

List of APIs that are deprecated by removing Google+ integration (and their C++ equivalents):

  1. Games.Players.getPlayerSearchIntent()
  2. Games.Players.loadConnectedPlayers()
  3. Games.Players.loadInvitablePlayers()
  4. The value LeaderboardVariant.COLLECTION_SOCIAL
  5. Invitations.loadInvitations()
  6. RealtimeMultiplayer.getSelectOpponentsIntent()
  7. TurnBasedMultiplayer.getSelectOpponentsIntent()
  8. All methods in the Requests package.

We realize this is a large change, but moving forward Play Game Services are much better aligned with the rest of the Mobile platform from Google and will lead to better developer experience for Android game developers.

Calling European game developers, enter the Indie Games Contest by December 31

Originally posted on Google Developers blog

Posted by Matteo Vallone, Google Play Partner Development Manager

To build awareness of the awesome innovation and art that indie game developers are bringing to users on Google Play, we have invested heavily over the past year in programs like Indie Corner, as well as events like the Google Play Indie Games Festivals in North America and Korea.

As part of that sustained effort, we also want to celebrate the passion and innovation of indie game developers with the introduction of the first-ever Google Play Indie Games Contest in Europe. The contest will recognize the best indie talent in several countries and offer prizes that will help you get your game noticed by industry experts and gamers worldwide.

Prizes for the finalists and winners:

  • An open showcase held at the Saatchi Gallery in London
  • YouTube influencer campaigns worth up to 100,000 EUR
  • Premium placements on Google Play
  • Tickets to Google I/O 2017 and other top industry events
  • Promotions on our channels
  • Special prizes for the best Unity game
  • And more!

Entering the contest:

If you're based in Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France (coming soon), Germany, Iceland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Poland (coming soon), Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, or UK (excl. Northern Ireland), have 15 or less full time employees, and published a new game on Google Play after 1 January 2016, you may now be eligible to enter the contest. If you're planning on publishing a new game soon, you can also enter by submitting a private beta. Check out all the details in the terms and conditions. Submissions close on 31 December 2016.

The process:

Up to 20 finalists will get to showcase their games at an open event at the Saatchi Gallery in London on the 16th February 2017. At the event, the top 10 will be selected by the event attendees and the Google Play team. The top 10 will then get the opportunity to pitch to a jury of industry experts, from which the final winner and runners up will be selected.

Even if someone is NOT entering the contest:

Even if you're not eligible to enter the contest, you can still register to attend the final showcase event in London on 16 February 2017, check out some great indie games, and have fun with various industry experts and indie developers. We will also be hosting a workshop for all indie games developers from across EMEA in the new Google office in Kings Cross the next day, so this will be a packed week.

Get started:

Enter the Indie Games Contest now and visit the contest site to find out more about the contest, the event, and the workshop.

Announcing the winners of the Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco; Indie Games Contest coming soon to Europe

Posted by Jamil Moledina, Google Play, Games Strategic Lead

Last Saturday, we hosted the first Google Play Indie Games Festival in North America, where we showcased 30 amazing games that celebrate the passion, innovation, and art of indies. After a competitive round of voting from fans and on-stage presentations to a jury of industry experts, we recognized seven finalists nominees and three winners.

Winners:
Presented by Greg Batha
Bit Bit Blocks is a cute and action-packed competitive puzzle game. Play with your friends on a single screen, or challenge yourself in single player mode. Head-to-head puzzle play anytime, anywhere.
Presented by Kaveh Daryabeygi, Wombo Combo
Numbo Jumbo is a casual mobile puzzle number game for iOS and Android. Players group numbers that add together: for example, [3, 5, 8] works because 3+5=8.
Presented by Chetan Surpur & Eric Rahman, Highkey Games
ORBIT puts a gravity simulator at the heart of a puzzle game. Launch planets with a flick of your finger, and try to get them into orbit around black holes. ORBIT also features a sandbox where you can create your own universes, control time, and paint with gravity.

Finalist nominees:

Antihero [coming later in 2016]
Presented by Tim Conkling
Antihero is a "fast-paced strategy game with an (Oliver) Twist." Run a thieves' guild in a gas-lit, corrupt city. Recruit urchins, hire thugs, steal everything – and bribe, blackmail, and assassinate your opposition. Single-player and cross-platform multiplayer for desktops, tablets, and phones.
Armajet [coming later in 2016]
Presented by Nicola Geretti & Alexander Krivicich, Super Bit Machine
Armajet is a free-to-play multiplayer shooter that pits teams of players against each other in fast-paced jetpack combat. Armajet is a best in class mobile game designed for spectator-friendly competitive gaming for tablets and smartphones. Players compete in a modern arena shooter that’s easy to learn, but hard to master.
Norman's Night In: The Cave [coming later in 2016]
Presented by Nick Iorfino & Alex Reed, Bactrian Games
Norman's Night In is a 2D puzzle-platformer that tells the tale of Norman and his fateful fall into the world of cave. While test driving the latest model 3c Bowling Ball, Norman finds himself lost with nothing but his loaned bball and a weird feeling that somehow he was meant to be there.
Presented by David Fox, Double Coconut
Parallyzed is an atmospheric adventure platformer with unique gameplay, set in a dark and enchanting dreamscape. You play twin sisters who have been cast into separate dimensions. Red and Blue have different attributes and talents, are deeply connected, and have the ability to swap bodies at any time.

Finalists nominees and winners also received a range of prizes, including Google I/O 2017 tickets, a Tango Development kit, Google Cloud credits, an NVIDIA Android TV & K1 tablet, and a Razer Forge TV bundle.

Indie Games Contest coming to Europe

We’re continuing our effort to help indie game developers thrive by highlighting innovative and fun games for fans around the world. Today, we are announcing the Indie Games Contest for developers based in European countries (specific list of countries coming soon!). This is a great opportunity for indie games developers to win prizes that will help you showcase your art to industry experts and grow your business and your community of players worldwide. Make sure you don’t miss out on hearing the details by signing up here for updates.

As we shared at the festival, it’s rewarding to see how Google Play has evolved over the years. We’re now reaching over 1 billion users every month and there’s literally something for everyone. From virtual reality to family indie games, developers like you continue to inspire, provoke, and innovate through beautiful, artistic games.

Announcing Open Registration and Exhibitors for Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco, Sept. 24

Posted by Jamil Moledina, Google Play, Games Strategic Lead

To celebrate the art of the latest innovative indie games, we’re hosting the first Google Play Indie Games Festival in North America on September 24th in San Francisco. At the festival, Android fans and gamers will have a unique opportunity to play new and unreleased indie games from some of the most innovative developers in the US and Canada, as well as vote for their favorite ones.

Registration is now open and the event is free for everyone to enjoy.

We’re also excited to announce the games selected to exhibit and compete at the event. From over 200 submissions, we carefully picked 30 games that promise the most fun and engaging experiences to attendees. Fans will have a chance to play a variety of indie games not yet available publicly.

Check out the full list of games selected here and below.


Fans will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite games at the festival, along with an authoritative panel of judges from Google Play and the game industry. They include:

  • Ron Carmel, Co-founder of Indie Fund; co-creator of World of Goo
  • Hyunse Chang, Business Development Manager at Google Play
  • Lina Chen, Co-founder & CEO of Nix Hydra
  • David Edery, CEO of Spry Fox
  • Maria Essig, Partner Manager, Indies at Google Play
  • Noah Falstein, Chief Game Designer at Google
  • Dan Fiden, Chief Strategy Officer of Funplus
  • Emily Greer, CEO of Kongregate
  • Alex Lee, Producer, Program Manager, Daydream & Project Tango at Google
  • Jordan Maron, Gamer and independent YouTuber “CaptainSparklez”

We are also thrilled to announce that veteran game designer and professor Richard Lemarchand will be the emcee for the event. He was lead designer at Crystal Dynamics and Naughty Dog, and is now Associate Chair and Associate Professor at the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts, Interactive Media and Games Division.

The winning developers will receive prizes, such Google Cloud credits, NVIDIA SHIELD Android TVs and K1 tablets, Razer Forge TV bundles, and more, to recognize their efforts.

Join us for an exciting opportunity to connect with fellow game fans, get inspired, and celebrate the art of indie games. Learn more about the event on the event website.

Announcing the Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco, Sept. 24

Posted by Jamil Moledina, Google Play, Games Strategic Lead

If you’re an indie game developer, you know that games are a powerful medium of expression of art, whimsy, and delight. Being on Google Play can help you reach over a billion users and build a successful, global business. That’s why we recently introduced programs, like the Indie Corner, to help more gamers discover your works of art.

To further celebrate and showcase the passion and innovation of indie game developers, we’re hosting the Google Play Indie Games Festival at the Terra Gallery in San Francisco, on September 24.

This is a great opportunity for you to showcase your indie title to the public, increase your network, and compete to win great prizes, such as Tango devices, free tickets for Google I/O 2017, and Google ad campaign support. Admission will be free and players will get the chance to play and vote on their favorites.

If you’re interested in showcasing your game, we’re accepting submissions now through August 14. We’ll then select high-quality games that are both innovative and fun for the festival. Submissions are open to US and Canadian developers with 15 or less full time staff. Only games published on or after January 1, 2016 or those to be published by December 31, 2016 are eligible. See complete rules.

We encourage virtual reality and augmented reality game submissions that use the Google VR SDK and the Tango Tablet Development Kit.

At the end of August, we’ll announce the group of indies to be featured at the festival.

You can learn more about the event here. We can’t wait to see what innovative and fun experiences you share with us!

Grow your games business on Google Play: Game parameters management, video recording, streaming ads, and more

Posted by Morgan Dollard, Product Manager of Google Play Games

With mobile gamers across 190 countries, Google Play Games is made up of a vibrant and diverse gaming community. And these players are more engaged than ever. Over the past year, the number of games reaching over 1 million installs grew by 50 percent.

Today, at our annual Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference, we announced new platform and ads tools for developers, of all sizes reach, to reach this global audience and accelerate the growth of their games business. Check out below the full range of features that will help game developers build their apps, grow their user base, and earn more revenue.

Making Google Play Games better for players

In February, we introduced Gamer IDs so that anyone could create a gaming persona. We also simplified the sign-in process for Google Play Games so players could pick up playing their game more quickly. We’re also working on product enhancements to make Play Games a little more social and fun, which will mean more engaged players who’re playing your game for longer. One example is the launch of Gamer friends (coming soon!), where your players can add and interact with their friends from within the Google Play Games app (without needing a Google+ account).

We’re also launching the Indie Corner, a new collection on Google Play, that will highlight amazing games built by indie developers. You can nominate your awesome indie game for inclusion at g.co/indiecornersubmission. We’ll pick the best games to showcase based on the quality of the experience and exemplary use of Google Play game services.

Grow your game with powerful new features from Google Play game services

In January, we added features to Player Analytics, the free reporting tool of Google Play game services, which helps you understand how players are progressing, spending and churning. Today, we previewed some upcoming new tools that would be available in the coming months, including:

  • Game parameters management: With game parameters management, you will be able to update gameplay and game economy parameters without the need for APK changes or resubmitting your app. You’ll be able to optimize virtual goods and currencies from the Developer Console or the Google Play Developer API.

Game parameters management in the Google Play Developer Console

  • Video Recording API: You will be able to easily add video recording to your app and let users share their videos with their friends and on YouTube in a few simple steps. We are also adding live streaming functionality to allow your fans to broadcast their gameplay experiences in real time on YouTube.
  • Predictive Analytics: The Player Stats API now has Predictive Analytics to help you identify which groups of players are likely to spend or churn, and we are adding new predictions for how much a player is likely to spend within 30 days and the probability that a player is a high spender. This allows you to tailor experiences for these players to try to increase their spend or engagement. Learn more about the
    Player Stats API.

“Not showing ads to users that were probable to spend increased number of IAP transactions by 15%.” – Avetis Zakharyan, CEO Underwater Apps

New ad formats and targeting to find, keep and monetize high-quality gamers

Promoting your game and growing your audience is important, but it’s just as important to reach the right audience for your game, the players who want to open the game again and again. That’s why today we’ve unveiled new features that make it simpler to reach the right audience at scale.

  • Search Trial Run Ads: In the next few weeks, we’ll launch a new way for users to try your game out when they do a search for games on Google through a new ad format, Search Trial Run Ads. After tapping “Try now”, an individual can play your game for up to 10 minutes, and then download the game in full if they choose. These ads will appear to smartphone users on WiFi. Using this format, you can drive qualified users who are likely to stay engaged with your game after install.

SGN’s Search Trial Run Ad for Panda Pop

  • Portrait Video Ads: More than 80% of video ad views in mobile apps on the Google Display Network are from devices held vertically, but often these videos are created for landscape viewing. Over the next few weeks, we’re launching Portrait Video Ads for a full-screen, immersive portrait video experience. Developers have seen significant improvement in both click-through and conversion rates, resulting in lower cost per install and more installs.
  • Active User Targeting for Games: In the coming weeks, we’re rolling out a new type of targeting for Android apps that allows you to show ads to users who have spent more than 30 minutes playing games, or who have played a Google Play Games integrated game, in the last 30 days.

Earn more revenue in your game with AdMob

AdMob helps game developers around the world maximize revenue through in-app advertising. At GDC, we also announced a new way to help you earn more through AdMob Mediation. Rewarded advertising is a popular form of game monetization -- users are given the choice to engage with ads in exchange for an in-app reward. AdMob Mediation will enable you to easily monetize your apps with rewarded video ads from a number of ad providers. Supported networks and platforms include AdColony, AppLovin, Chartboost, Fyber, Upsight and Vungle, with more being added all the time.

You can learn more about this, and all our ads announcements on the Inside AdWords blog.

This is just the start of what we’ve got planned for 2016. We hope you can make use of these tools to improve your game, engage your audience, and grow your business and revenue.

Find success on Google Play: What app developers can learn from games

Posted by Matteo Vallone, Business Development Manager at Google Play

(As a way to reach more app developers and help them grow successful businesses on Google Play, this post was first published on The Next Web – Ed.)

There is much common ground between freemium apps and games businesses when it comes to achieving success. Users are, however, more used to paying for games than apps, stemming from the history of traditional gaming consoles. Moreover, mobile games are also able to easily offer ‘virtual goods’ across a range of price points to suit every pocket. This means that game developers have had plenty of opportunity to learn about how to improve onboarding, conversion, and ultimately the user Lifetime Value (LTV). So what can app developers learn from game developers? Here are some best practice tips and insights from successful game developers that can be applied to many apps, today.

Drive app success the game developer way:

1. Optimize retention before investing in acquisition

Retention is king, and retention drives conversion. For games developers, retention is the key measure of game quality and whether it appeals to players.

Most game developers will “soft launch” to beta testing communities or test markets. During this phase, the game is tweaked to optimize retention by looking into specific areas, such as tutorial completion, level difficulty and conversion. Developers can then track retention using the Cohorts reports in Google Analytics. Once retention is satisfactory, the developer can go to full launch and start investing in user acquisition.

2. Retain users with step-by-step engagement

The first seven days after install are the most critical for retention: users install several apps to try them, and decide in the first few days which ones they want to keep using. If you can retain for that time span, your app is more likely to become part of the user’s daily routine.

There are some simple ways to progressively build user engagement. It’s important to present a strong story that explains why that app is relevant to the user, while introducing them to key features. Then place features that offer the user value early, so they can be found without much effort.

This is a not a one-size-fit-all. To find the right solution, a developer needs to first make assumptions on what user flows can improve retention and then run A/B tests to validate or correct them. For example, a developer could think that introducing sign-in later in the user flow might improve retention. Also, the developer needs to keep in mind what the key long term engagement metrics are for the individual app (such as photos uploaded or the number of articles read) and measure the impact of the different onboarding flows on those metrics as well.

In general, these principles are good places to start optimizing your onboarding:

  • Look for ways to let the users experience the app straight away, rather than taking them through a long, complex setup.
  • Present “activation moments” — such as registering an account, uploading a video, or finding friend — gradually
  • Start by requiring minimal investment by the user, then ask them for more details as they are needed to use the apps features.
  • Treat permissions as a service for the user. For example, if you want users to register, show them in advance that, by making their experience more personal, they’ll get more value from the app.

In this example, OkCupid tried different onboarding flows and found the most engaging version increased seven-day retention by over 20 percent.

Finally, ensure the user can understand the value of your app before you start asking them to pay. Game developers are particularly good at letting their users try most or all product features for free in in a set number of days or sessions.

A great tool to help analyze how users are engaging (or not) with the app is through the Flow Report in Google Analytics. Using this report, a developer can see how users navigate through the app and where they leave to identify potential roadblocks.

3. Target the right offers at the right users

Understanding different groups of users in-app purchase behavior is the key to devising strategies to encourage them to spend.

Start by identifying groups of users by how they spend and much they are likely to spend. It may be by age group, the channel that brought the install, or in-app behaviour. Use the Segment builder in Google Analytics to identify and define these groups of users. Then, tailor in-app purchase offers to match the segments spending behavior. For example, for segments where multiple users tend to spend more in one go, but spend infrequently, offer them in-app features bundled together.

4. Offer in-app purchases when users are most likely to spend

Users are also more likely to spend, if the purchasing experience is frictionless, and even more so when they can see how the expenditure will add value. So:

  • Present purchase opportunities to users when they’re most likely to need or want it — and explain to the user why it’s relevant.
  • Make purchasing accessible easily from within the app with a minimum number of taps. For example, offer an upgrade button on the footer of relevant screens.

TomTom added a countdown to indicate when the free service runs out (counted in kilometers travelled). The counter includes a button to upgrade offering a one tap in-app purchase.

Like all good game developers, they focus on building good experiences that retain and engage users through constant testing and analytics. First impressions are important, so users need to be able to quickly understand the importance of the app and easily navigate through the onboarding experience. And to start generating revenue, it is important to be thoughtful about how to make in-app purchases actionable.

Watch Matteo’s Playtime 2015 session ‘The rules of games, for apps’ to hear more in-depth insights which app developers can learn from games with best practices and developer examples:

You can also watch the other sessions from Google Playtime 2015 to learn more about tools and best practices which can help you find success with business on Google Play.

Developer tips for success with Player Analytics and Google Play games services

Posted by, Lily Sheringham, Developer Marketing at Google Play

Editor’s note: As part of our series featuring tips from developers, we spoke to some popular game developers to find out how they use Player Analytics and Google Play game services to find success on Google Play. - Ed.

Google Play games services, available in the Developer Console, allows you to add features such as achievements and leaderboards to your games. Google Play games services provides Player Analytics, a free games-specific analytics tool, in the Developer Console Game services tab. You can use the reports to understand how players are progressing, spending, and churning backed by a data-driven approach.

Bombsquad grows revenue by 140% per user with Player Analytics

Independent developer Eric Froemling, initially created the game Bombsquad as a hobby, but now relies on it as his livelihood. Last year, he switched the business model of the game from paid to free-to-play. By using Player Analytics, he was able to improve player retention and monetization in the game, achieving a 140% increase in the average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU).

Watch the video below to learn how Eric uses Player Analytics and the Developer Console to improve gamers’ experience, while increasing retention and monetization.



Tips from Auxbrain for success with Google Play games services

Kevin Pazirandeh, founder and CEO of games developer Auxbrain, creator of Zombie Highway, provides insight into how they use Google Play games services, and comments:

“While there are a few exceptions, I have not run into a better measure of engagement, and perhaps more importantly, a measure for change in engagement, than the retention table. For the uninitiated, a daily retention table gives you the % of players who return on the nth day after their first play. Comparing retention rates of two similar games can give you an immediate signal if you are doing something right or wrong.”

Kevin shares his top tips on how to best use the analytics tools in Google Play games services:

  1. You get Player Analytics for free - If you’ve implemented Google Play game services in your games, check out Player Analytics under Game services in the Developer Console, you’ll find you are getting analytics data already.
  2. Never assume change is for the better - Players may not view changes in your game as the improvement you had hoped they were. So when you make a change, have a strategy for measuring the result. Where you cannot find a way to measure the change’s impact with Player Analytics, consider not making it and prioritize those changes you can measure.
  3. Use achievements and events to track player progress - If you add achievements or events you can use the Player progression report or Event viewer to track player progress. You’ll quickly find out where players are struggling or churning, and can look for ways to help move players on.
  4. Use sign-in to get more data - The more data about player behavior you collect, the more meaningful the reports in Player Analytics become. The best way to increase the data collected is to get more players signed-in. Auto sign-in players, and provide a Play game services start point on the first screen (after any tutorial flow) for those that don’t sign-in first time.
  5. Track your player engagement with Retention tables - The Retention table report lets you see where players are turning away, over time. Compare retention before and after changes to understand their impact, or between similar games to see if different designs decisions are turning players away earlier or later.

Get started with Google Play Games Services or learn more about products and best practices that will help you grow your business on Google Play globally.

Play Games Loot Drop for Developers

Posted by Ben Frenkel, Product Manager Google Play Games

Launched last March, Player Analytics is already becoming an important tool for many game developers, helping them to manage their games businesses and optimize in-game player behavior. Today we’re expanding Player Analytics with two new analytics reports that give you better visibility into time-based player activity and custom game events. We’re also introducing a new Player Stats API to let you tune your game experience for specific segments of players across the game lifecycle. Along with those, we’re rolling out a new version of our C++/iOS SDKs and Unity plug-in and giving you better tools to manage repeating Quests.

New useful reports for developers

We are launching two new reports later this week in the Play Games developer console: the Player Time Series Explorer and the Events Viewer. We’ve also made improvements to our player retention report.

Player Time Series Explorer

Ever wondered what your players are doing in the first few minutes of gameplay? What happens just before players spend or churn? The time-series explorer lets you understand what happens in these critical moments for your players.

For example, you carefully built out the first set of experiences in your game, but are surprised by how many players never get through even the first set of challenges. With the Player Time Series Explorer, you can now see which challenges are impeding player progress most, and make targeted improvements to decrease the rate of churn. Learn more.

Customize settings to explore player time series

Select from a list of preset questions

Find out what happens before your players spend for the first time

Select “What happens before first spend” to see what happens just before your players spend for the first time. Time series are aligned by first spend event so you can easily explore what happened just before and after first purchase.

Find out what happens before your players churn

Select “What happens before churn” to see what happens before your players stop playing. In the example below, all the churn events are right aligned to make it easier to compare player time series.

Hovering over events shows you additional details

You can see more details for all event types by holding your cursor over the event’s shape. In this example, you can see that “Player 03” spent $4.99 after earning six achievements. Hovering over the achievement shapes will show you which specific achievements were earned.

Events Viewer

Now you can create your own reports based on your custom Play Games’ events. You can select multiple events to display and bookmark the report for easy access. Learn more.

Here’s an example showing how a developer can compare the rates at which Players are entering contests, winning, and almost winning. This report would identify opportunities to improve the balance of its contest modes. You can then bookmark the settings so you can easily track improvements.

28x28 day retention grid

We added a 28-day-by-28-day retention grid to help you compare retention rates across a larger number of new user cohorts.

Tailor player experiences with the Player Stats API

Stats and reports give you insights into your what your players are doing, but wouldn’t it be nice to take action on those insights in your game? That’s what the Player Stats API is all about. The Player Stats API lets you tailor player experiences to specific segments of players across the game lifecycle. Player segments are based on player progression, spend, and engagement.

Here are some examples of what you can do with Player Stats API:

  • For highly engaged players that just aren’t spending, you can show them special bonuses that are aimed at recruiting others to play instead of spending
  • For your most prolific spenders, you can provide occasional free gifts and upgrades
  • For users that haven’t found their stride in your game, you can show them a video that directs them to community features, like clan attacks or alliances, that drive deeper engagement
  • For players that have been away from the game for a while, you can give them a welcome back message that acknowledges impressive accomplishments, and award a badge designed to encourage return play

The Player Stats API is launching in the next few weeks.

C++/iOS SDK and Unity Plug-in updates

iOS support for Play game services just got a lot better. This update includes improved CocoaPods support, which will make it easier to configure Play game services in Xcode. This also means you’ll have a much easier time building for iOS using the Unity plug-in as well.

The latest build of the C++/iOS SDKs is now built on the new Google Sign-In framework, which adds support for authentication via multiple Google apps, including Gmail and YouTube. More importantly, if a player does not have any applicable Google apps installed, the Sign-In framework will bring up a webview within the app for authentication. Opening up a webview inside the app, instead of switching to a separate browser instance, makes for a much better user experience, and addresses a top developer request. For more on the new Google Sign-in library on iOS, check out this video. Learn more.

Improved Quests

Quests are a great way of engaging your players with new goals, and with this update we have made managing Quests easier with the introduction of repeating Quests. You can create Quests that run weekly or monthly by checking the repeating quest box. This will make it easier for you to engage your players with regularly occurring challenges. Repeating Quests will be launching in the next few weeks.

If you have previously integrated Quests, you can easily convert them into repeating quests by following two easy steps.

1. Go to Quests section of developer console, and open up an existing Quest. Click the copy Quest button at the top of the page

2. Scroll down to the Schedule section of the Quest form, check the “Repeating quest” box, select between monthly and weekly quests under “Repeats”, and leave the “Ends:” field set to “Never”. After hitting save, you are done! From then on, the quest will run weekly or monthly until you decide to end it.

Google Play game services (GPGS) docs and SDK downloads